You don’t have to wait for the time to write. You already have it.

You don’t have to wait for the time to write. You already have it.

You don’t have to wait for the time to write. You already have it.

You have the time to write. You just don’t recognise it for what it is.

Perhaps in your mind, you expect it to look a certain way: quiet, comfortable, in a soft chair looking out to the sea with birds chirping outside… when in reality it’s probably more like typing with two thumbs while walking up an escalator and making sure you haven’t lost the child who was standing behind you a moment ago.

Or dashing off a few paragraphs after a client meeting ends and before the next one starts. Or staring at a blank screen first thing in the morning instead of reading emails.  

Those are where the best writing at least begins: and you can start and end it anywhere, anytime. It’s all in your head.

You tell yourself, I’m struggling to find the time to write.

I’ve blocked out three hours – or a half a day – or a full day! – and I’m going to write, write write.

You even have the ideas list. You’ve read They Ask You Answer, you’ve got questions from your clients and problems they’re experiencing and topics from the Big Five categories.

But you don’t.

You buy into the deception that writing must happen under some sort of perfect conditions – when in fact the direct opposite is often true. Some of the best writing you’ll ever do will at least begin in the strangest of places. Because that’s when the ideas come.

I can distinctly remember specific ideas that came to me in the evening on a walk in the woods, or first thing in the morning walking along a beach. Talking to a client in a busy exhibition hall and suddenly thinking, “That would be a brilliant blog post”, or standing chatting to someone after I’ve given a presentation and they say something that sparks an entire thought process.

The truth is: You can write anywhere.

You don’t have to wait.  

Matter of fact, the less you wait, the better. I was in London for an event at which I was one of the speakers, and I was finalising my presentation for the next day. I had the bare bones, but was a little stuck, and felt like it could be a lot better. I wanted to practice it aloud, but I had just gotten off the plane and was getting on the underground, so instead of speaking it aloud I decided to start writing it out. But I was stuck, so I couldn’t think of a single thing to write.

So i started writing. Anything and everything.

I wrote out a sentence on the topic, which led to another sentence, and it all sounded really stupid.

Suddenly after about the tenth different starting point a little bell went off in my mind. That was it! A much better focus for my talk. Unfortunately I can’t tell you the brilliance of the exact words that kicked it off, because I wrote it swiftly and hurriedly on my phone, and now all I have is a note that says, “marks chalet known nor loyal bam”. (Fortunately the actual words that came to mind were much more helpful, and I put them straight into my presentation, which seemed to go quite well as there weren’t too many confused faces.)

When you start typing, or writing, or speaking with transcription – it feels stupid and even is stupid at first.

But start, and it will come.

Start with anything. Start with your phone, your ipad, your laptop, a pen and paper.

Start anywhere. On the train. In the train station waiting for your platform to be announced. On a bus. Walking along the street. In a client meeting (as long as you don’t interrupt the flow of conversation).

You don’t have to write the entire blog post, the website page, the PDF guide. That you can finish later – or have your marketing team or agency do it for you. Edit, tidy it up, choose images, design it, draft and schedule it.

I know if I don’t write it down instantly, it’s very likely I’ll forget the exact words that were so helpful or inspiring. Many of you have seen me do it. We’ll be talking away and suddenly I’ll stop and pull out my phone and say, “I’m still listening, I just have to – what was that you said?” and we both try to remember exactly what the phrase was so I can note it down and write about it later.

Because if you don’t take the time wherever you are, whenever you are, you’ll end up with notes like “marks chalet known nor loyal bam”, and it won’t help you at all.

This particular note was written in this way:

  1. Note taken on my iPhone on the London Underground – “When your mind is blank start writing . Got to London. Had to wait for bag and then had to run out and get a few things in the city. Only had time in the underground . Couldn’t practice my talk aloud so started typing out notes in my phone. This starting sentence that starting sentence. All sounded stupid.  Suddenly after about the tenth different starting point a little bell went off marks chalet known nor loyal bam”
  2. Conversation with a client on the PF Marketing Community group – someone said they were struggling to find the time to write, and I replied “we all have the time to write. We just don’t recognise it for what it is. We expect it to look a certain way: ie quiet, comfortable, in a soft chair looking out to the sea with birds chirping outside… when in reality it’s probably more like typing with two thumbs while walking up an escalator and making sure you haven’t lost the child who was standing behind you a moment ago. Or dashing off a few paragraphs after a client meeting ends and before the next one starts. Or staring at a blank screen first thing in the morning instead of reading emails.  Those are where the best writing at least begins: and in my experience you can start and end it , anywhere, anytime. It’s all in your head.”
  3. Sketchnote idea whilst out for a walk at home – thought “I could sketch a bunch of icons of places you can write, like a plane, a train, a bus, walking”
  4. Downloaded images and icons, in the Edinburgh airport – I knew in order to sketch all the images I was thinking of, I needed some ideas to start with, and I might need to do sketching when I had no internet access. So before I got on a plane to Ireland, I started downloading some icons. As I was doing that, I started thinking about (as I do) magical places and transport as opposed to normal muggle transport, and I thought, “it would be fun to sketch wizarding world transport, like the Hogwarts Express and Platform 9 3/4 and the Knight Bus”. So I downloaded a few images to give me ideas on that.
  5. Sketched the images on a bus from Belfast to Dublin – By now I had all the ideas in my mind – I just needed to do the drawing. Made sure my ipad had plenty of power, and pulled out my phone with the downloaded images, and that was done pretty quickly.
  6. Wrote the actual content sitting by a window looking out to sea in Tramore Ireland – I had a meeting with a client in this town, and my Airbnb has this huge picture window staring out to the sea, with the sun sparkling like diamonds on the water, and the birds chirping, and the bright flowers outside smiling at me. I’m sitting on a sofa with a cup of black coffee, and I realised I had a spare 20 minutes before I drive off to the airport, so I sat down, pulled it all together, and here we are.

That seems like a lot, for one short post and a sketchnote. But all these things happened in a few minutes. The actual sketching took about 20 minutes, and the writing of this content about the same. Everything else was a few minutes here and there, as i was going, as I was traveling, in between everything else.

That’s when you write. In pieces, in sections, in between everything else. Don’t wait for the perfect time, in sunshine on a comfy sofa looking out to the sparkling sea.

Although, as it happens, sometimes that’s exactly how it works out.

 

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ON THE GRAM

Road trippin and tomb hunting in the northern Irish countryside with one of my life besties. It’s a satisfying thing to climb these hills and watch the clouds move… and explore the old tombs which are older than the pyramids. 

Here we go. 

#adventures #roadtrip #northernireland #sperrins #tombs #giantsgrave #satisfyinglife #trekking
What will you do when you’ve arrived?

One of the things business owners tend to focus on is getting the business to run without you.

Systems, team, leadership, pricing… you work so hard on each of these and it often takes longer than you expect.

Maybe you have a vague idea of what you’d do with all that free time once it appears, but I’d guess just as many of you aren’t 100% sure what that will look like.

Every day is so full you don’t have to time to pause. “I’ll spend more time with my family”, you tell yourself. More holidays, more of whatever fills you up.

It might be cooking or DIY or reading, but equally it might be writing a book. Coaching. Speaking. A second or third business of a new kind. 

Which means NOW is the time to start thinking about it.

That can feel overwhelming, if things aren’t “sorted” yet. You still have team issues, or the systems and tech are taking longer than expected to deliver results. You’ve lost some clients, or are struggling to get new ones.

The fact is, all those things may be indicators you’re closer than you realise.

These issues will get sorted – and the moment they do, you could hit a point where you have that spare time. You have a little more energy, or money, or space and freedom. For whatever. 

Now what?

What’s that “whatever”?

That’s when you start looking at your personal brand.

It’s different from your business brand. Instead of being focused on an audience, buying a service; instead of being something which summarises an entire business including clients and team, now you have the opportunity to consider what summarises YOU.

What you care about. The message you’d get out to the world if you could. The kind of people who think the way you do.

If this is even a *glimmer* of a thought in your mind, I’d love to hear from you. I’m working on a live workshop event in the UK, and I want to make sure we cover what would be the most helpful for you, right now.

Before everything is “sorted”.

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